What Should I Do for a Burn Victim?

Burn injuries are serious business, but you can make a difference to someone who has suffered an injury. These tips are provided to help you.

For All Burn Injuries

  • Scene safety for anyone trying to rescue or treat a victim
  • STOP the burning process
  • Call 911 for help and provide CPR if necessary
  • Remove all jewelry, clothing and diapers 
  • Wrap in a warm blanket

Types of Burns

There are many types of burns: thermal, chemical, inhalation, electrical and frostbite.

  • Thermal burns are caused by flame, steam, hot liquids or a hot surface.
  • Chemical burns may be caused by acids or bases often found in household cleaning agents.
  • Inhalation burns are caused by super heated air or smoke and products of combustion.
  • Electrical burns are often caused by bad electrical plugs, faulty electrical wiring and lightning.
  • Frostbite burns are caused by freezing of tissues by environmental exposure.
  1. Stop the burning process by either extinguishing the flames or get the person away from what is burning them
  2. Smother flames with a heavy blanket or use cool water
  3. Flush area with cool water - do NOT use ice
  4. Do not place butter or household agent on burns
  1. Stop the burning process
  2. Use gloves, avoid contact with chemical
  3. Flush area with water continuously - do NOT neutralize the agent as this can make the burn worse
  4. Remove clothing and jewelry
  1. Seek fresh air immediately
  2. Call 911
  3. Administer CPR if in respiratory distress

If the victim is still in contact with power:

  1. Turn off the power at the circuit breaker before touching the person
  2. If power cannot be turned off, use a nonconductive item such as wood (broom, mop) to move the power source away from the person
  1. Rewarm in tepid water 
  2. Seek medical attention immediately
  3. Do NOT allow refreezing of tissue
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